Monday, December 3, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Redskins 17, Giants 16
By Dan Graziano
LANDOVER, Md. -- A few thoughts on the Washington Redskins' 17-16 comeback victory over the New York Giants on "Monday Night Football" at FedExField.
What it means: There is now a three-way race in the NFC East with four games to go. The Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys are 6-6, sitting one game behind the first-place, 7-5 Giants. An opportunity to build a nearly insurmountable division lead slipped through the Giants' fingers, and while they remain the favorites and still hold the lead -- meaning they're the only ones who can control the division race -- they have a lot of work to do before they can clinch their second straight division title. The Redskins, behind dazzling rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, have won three games in a row -- all against NFC East opponents -- since the bye and sit one game out of the second NFC wild-card spot.
The "other" Redskins rookie: Running back Alfred Morris became the first Redskin to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season since Clinton Portis did it in 2008. He also broke Reggie Brooks' record for rushing yards in a season by a Redskins rookie. Taken in the sixth round of this year's draft out of Florida Atlantic, Morris won the starting running back job in camp and so far ranks among the top five in the league in rushing yardage. He's been a vital part of a Redskins offense that's had to carry the team pretty much all season, and Washington's determination to stick with him even while trailing in the fourth quarter was a big reason it was able to come back and take the lead. The Redskins managed to run for more than 200 yards against the Giants despite losing the time-of-possession battle.
Finish it off: The Giants had an 11-play, 6:32 drive in the first quarter that resulted in a field goal. They had a 13-play, 5:56 drive that resulted in a missed field goal. If they had cashed those in with touchdowns, it likely would not have been a close game, given the remarkable time-of-possession differential. The Giants were outstanding on third down for much of the night, but failing to get more points on those two early drives cost them a chance to put the game away.
Nemesis: Giants quarterback Eli Manning did not throw an interception in the game, and he did throw a touchdown pass. Over the past two years against Washington, he has thrown two touchdown passes and six interceptions, and is 1-3 in four games against the Redskins.
He helps: The Redskins are 5-1 this season in games in which top wide receiver Pierre Garcon plays. Garcon, who missed much of the season with a foot injury, caught eight passes for 106 yards and a touchdown Monday night.
What's next: The Giants host the New Orleans Saints in a 4:25 p.m. ET game Sunday at MetLife Stadium. The Saints have lost two games in a row to drop to 5-7 for the season after fighting back from a 1-4 start to get to .500. The Redskins host the Baltimore Ravens in a 1 p.m. ET game Sunday at FedExField. Baltimore is 9-3 after its loss this past Sunday to the Steelers.